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SILK

(EXCERPT)
By: Alessandro Baricco
Alessandro Baricco

After receiving degrees in philosophy


(under Gianni Vattimo) and piano, he published
essays on music criticism: Il genio in fuga (1988)
on Gioachino Rossini, and L'anima di Hegel e le
mucche del Wisconsin ("Hegel's Soul and the
Cows of Wisconsin", 1992) on the relation
between music and modernity. He subsequently
worked as musical critic for La
Repubblica and La Stampa, and hosted talk
shows on Rai Tre.

Baricco debuted as a novelist with Castelli di


rabbia (translated as Lands of Glass) in 1991.

In 1993 he co-founded a creative writing school


in Turin, naming it Scuola Holden after J. D.
Salinger's Holden Caulfield. The Scuola Holden
hosts a variety of courses on narrative
techniques including screenwriting, journalism,
videogames, novels and short stories.
Alessandro Baricco

In the following years his fame grew


enormously throughout Europe, with his
works topping the Italian and French
best-seller lists. Larger recognition
followed the adaptation of his theatrical
monologue Novecento into the
movie The Legend of 1900, directed
by Academy Award-winning
director Giuseppe Tornatore.
He has also worked with the French
band Air, releasing "City Reading", a mix
of the band's music with Baricco's
reading of his novel City.
He has directed the film Lezione 21 on
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and its
critical reception.
His Works
Novels
Castelli di rabbia, Rizzoli 1991, Tascabili
Bompiani 1994; Lands of Glass, Penguin
1992. Awarded with Prix Mdicis tranger
France
Oceano Mare, Rizzoli 1993; Ocean
Sea, ISBN 0-375-70395-0, 1993. Awarded
with 'Palazzo al Bosco' Italy
Novecento. Un monologo, Giangiacomo
Feltrinelli Editore, Milan, 1994; Novecento:
pianist, 1994.
Seta, Rizzoli 1996; Silk, ISBN 978-0-307-
27797-8, 1996. (See Silk for the film
adaptation.)
City (original title), ISBN 978-0-375-72548-
7 (edition in English), Rizzoli 1999.
Constellations (original title), 1999.
His Works

Senza sangue, Rizzoli 2002; Without


Blood ISBN 1-4000-3478-7, 2002.
(Also published in revised form in The
New Yorker)
Questa storia, Fandango 2005.
Emmaus, Feltrinelli 2009.
Mr Gwyn, Feltrinelli 2011.
Tre volte all'alba, Feltrinelli 2012.
Smith & Wesson, Feltrinelli 2014.
La Sposa giovane, Feltrinelli 2015.
His Works

Theater
Totem, a literary and musical happening
staged in various locations throughout
Italy with varying structure and
contents. Mostly it consisted of a two-
night theatrical event in which Baricco
himself, helped by director Gabriele
Vacis, actor Eugenio Allegri and
musician Daniele Sepe, would read and
comment on bits of literature from all
centuries and countries, accompanying
them with music. In 2001 Rizzoli
published the video of Totem recorded
in Milan in 1997.
His Works

Novecento, Feltrinelli 1994; The


Legend of 1900 (1994)
originally a monologue for theater
staged by director Gabriele Vacis,
adapted in 1998 into a film
by Giuseppe Tornatore, La
leggenda del pianista sull'oceano,
with music composed by Ennio
Morricone.
Davila Roa, staged only once by
director Luca Ronconi.
Reportedly a huge fiasco, it was
never published in written form.
His Works

Omero, Iliade, Feltrinelli 2004; An Iliad,


Vintage International 2004 ( ISBN 978-0-
307-27539-4 ) a rewriting
of Homer's Iliad consisting of 24
chapters, each telling a part of the story
through the eyes and words of a
prominent character in the poem. The
theatrical event from which the book
originated was staged only twice due to
its logistic difficulties: it spanned over
three nights during which the best
contemporary Italian actors would
impersonate one character each, eight
per night.
His Works
Cinema

Partita Spagnola, Audino Editore 2003


(screenplay never shot).

Lecture 21, 2008 (written and directed).

Collected short writings[edit]

Barnum. Cronache dal Grande Show,


Feltrinelli 1995

Barnum 2. Altre cronache del Grande


Show, Feltrinelli 1998

Next. Piccolo libro sulla globalizzazione


e il mondo che verr, Feltrinelli 2002

Il nuovo Barnum, Feltrinelli 2016


His Works

Essays
Il genio in fuga. Sul teatro musicale di Rossini, Il Melangolo
1988, Einaudi 1997
L'anima di Hegel e le mucche del Wisconsin, Garzanti 1992
I Barbari, La Repubblica 2006
His Awards

Prix Mdicis tranger France


Selezione Campiello Italy
Viareggio Italy
Palazzo al Bosco Italy
STORY ANALYSIS
Elements of Fiction

Setting Mood
Place- Japan Light
Time- 1854
Elements of Fiction

Character Type of Plot


The main character or the The type of plot in this novel is
protagonist is Herve Joncour, episodic.
a French Adventurer. He has a
dangerous mission to smuggle
silkworm eggs from Japan. It
was very hard for him to
accomplish his mission,
because at that time bringing
silkworm eggs outside of
Japan was considered a
crime.
Elements of Fiction

Conflict Point of View


The conflict in the story is The author Used the third
Herve Joncour is married. persons point of view.
Also that the Japanese girl
belongs to Hara Kei. Thats
why if Herve Joncour and the
girl continue their relationship
Hara Kei will kill him.
Elements of Fiction

Theme Style
Love in a Strange Place The author used descriptive
and narrative style.
Elements of Fiction

Symbols
Cup- it symbolizes the desire
between Herve Joncour and
the Japanese girl.
Plot Summary

Herv Joncour travels the world buying silkworm eggs and


eventually travels as far as Japan. He buys eggs from Hara Kei, a
French-speaking nobleman. Joncour falls in love with his mistress.
During his second visit to Japan, Joncour learns about the aviary of
exotic birds that Hara Kei has built; he leaves a glove for Hara Kei's
mistress to find in a pile of clothes. Hara Kei's mistress gives him a
love note written in Japanese that says, "Come back, or I shall die."

During Joncour's third visit to Japan, Hara Kei's mistress releases


the birds from the aviary. Joncour and Hara Kei's mistress have sex
by proxy. Hara Kei conducts the silkworm egg transaction via an
associate and does not say goodbye when Joncour leaves. When it
is time for Joncour to make a fourth trip to Japan, war has broken
out. He finds Hara Kei's village burned to the ground. A young boy
appears and gives him the glove that he had dropped on the pile of
Hara Kei's mistress's clothes. He follows the boy to the place where
the refugees from Hara Kei's village are camping.
Plot Summary

Hara Kei denies Joncour welcome but Joncour refuses to leave.


The next morning, Joncour sees the body of the boy hanging
from a tree; Hara Kei has executed him for carrying the glove to
Joncour and bringing him back to the village. Joncour hastily
procures a supply of eggs but leaves far too late in the season
to transport them to France. The silk mills sit idle that year.
One day, he receives a letter written in Japanese. He takes it to
Madame Blanche. It is an erotic love letter from a woman to her
beloved master. Madame Blanche gives him some of her
trademark blue flowers. Joncour retires from the silkworm egg
business; he and Hlne have three daughters. Baldabiou
leaves Lavilledieu suddenly and is not heard from again. Hlne
dies of a fever several years later. On a visit to her grave,
Joncour sees Madame Blanche's blue flowers there. He visits
her and learns that his wife is the author of the letter.
The End
Thank You!